Pope Francis arrives at lavish UAE palace in humble Kia Soul
Pope Francis kicked off his historic visit to the United Arab Emirates on Monday, arriving at Abu Dhabi’s lavish presidential palace in his trademark understated Kia Soul hatchback.
The small black car — a notable choice in a kingdom known for its gold-plated lifestyle — was flanked by cavalry as it wound its way toward the palace.
It’s the first time a pontiff has visited the Gulf state and Francis was greeted with an artillery salute and aircraft trailing yellow and white smoke through the sky in honor of the Vatican flag.
The Pope is on a three-day visit to the UAE capital, and on Monday afternoon gave his first public speech at a meeting with Muslim, Jewish and Christian leaders at the city’s Founder’s Memorial center.
The Pontiff called on the world’s religious leaders to reject war, mentioning the conflicts in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Libya.
“Let us commit ourselves against the logic of armed power,” Francis said. He also warned against the “raising of walls,” in what could be seen as a reference to President Donald Trump’s pledged border wall with Mexico.
In a wide-ranging speech, the Pope also mentioned the sexual abuse scandal which has embroiled the Catholic Church for decades, praising a November meeting held in Abu Dhabi on child dignity in the digital world.
Gifts fit for a Pope
Earlier in the day, Francis met with Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan at the Presidential Palace. The three discussed “enhancing cooperation” and “important initiatives to achieve peace,” the